Weatherman warns of depressed rains after El Nino spell

Wednesday March 2 2016

A farmer admires maize in his farm in Siginga, Budalangi. Experts say yields from genetically modified crops are higher than normal maize. FILE PHOTO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

A farmer admires maize in his farm in Siginga, Budalangi.  

By BRIAN NGUGI
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The weatherman is warning of depressed rainfall in most parts of the country especially the eastern region during March to May long-rains season.

The director of Kenya Meteorological Service James Kongoti wants farmers in affected areas to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture to offset any expected farming challenges the depressed rains may bring.

“In  the  agricultural  counties  of  Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, central highlands and the Coastal strip where average rainfall performance is expected, the farming communities should take advantage of the  expected  good  rains and  maximize  crop  yield  through  appropriate  land use  management. The expected late onset and poor temporal distribution of the seasonal rainfall is, however, likely to delay planting in most agricultural areas,” said Mr Kongoti while releasing the country’s March to May long rains forecast.

PASTURES

Mr Kongoti said that the  poor  rainfall  performance  expected  over  the  Arid  and  Semi-arid  Lands  (ASALs) is likely to hurt the livestock sector adding that pastures for animals may not regenerate to optimum levels.

“In  other agricultural counties like the Southeastern Kenya where  the  rainfall  is  expected  to  be generally depressed, farmers are also advised to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture to get advise on the best use of rains by planting appropriate crops that are drought resistant,” he said.

Mr Kongoti at the same time said rainfall over most parts of western, central and some northern counties (Moyale, Marsabit among other) is likely to be near-average while the Coastal strip is likely to experience slightly enhanced rainfall.

Most of the eastern region of the country is likely to remain generally dry during the month of March. Much of the seasonal rainfall is likely to be recorded in April.

“The seasonal rainfall onset is expected during the second to third week of March over most parts of western Kenya. The better part of the eastern sector, especially Northeastern Kenya is likely to experience the onset during the first to second week of April,” he explained.